Charles honors allied bombing victims

King Charles III laid a wreath in memory of the victims of World War II Allied bombing during a visit to Hamburg’s St. Nikolai Memorial, the remains of a church in Germany’s northern port city that was badly damaged by the airstrikes.

Friday’s gesture came on the final day of Charles’ three-day tour of Germany, his first overseas state trip since he ascended the British throne last year, aimed at strengthening bilateral and European ties.

It comes shortly before the 80th anniversary of the Allied bombing of Hamburg in July, known as “Operation Gomorrah”, which killed some 40,000 people and destroyed parts of the city.

In response to Nazi air raids on civilian targets in Poland and later London, the Allies dropped about 1.9 million tons of bombs on Germany in an attempt to cripple German industry. Some 500,000 people died in the Allied raids.

Earlier, Charles paid his respects at the memorial to the Kindertransporte, a rescue mission that enabled some 10,000 Jewish children to flee Nazi-occupied Europe in the late 1930s, mainly to Britain.

“It is our sacred responsibility to learn from the past, but it can only be fully fulfilled by committing to our shared future,” Charles said in a bilingual address to the Bundestag’s lower house on Thursday.

“Together, we must be vigilant about threats to our values ​​and freedoms, and determined to face them.”

Later on Friday, Charles, who succeeded his mother Queen Elizabeth II when she died aged 96 last September, learned more about the adoption of green technologies at the Port of Hamburg and met with representatives from some of the companies involved.

“Our countries are both accelerating the expansion of our hydrogen economies, the fuel that could change our future,” he told the Bundestag. “I look forward to Hamburg’s plans to use hydrogen in its efforts to become a fully sustainable port.”

During his visit, German officials praised his interest in environmental causes and sustainability, which was reflected in the assignments he has chosen.

“I have great respect for his decades-long commitment to protecting the environment and climate,” tweeted German Chancellor Olaf Scholz, who was dubbed the “climate chancellor” during his 2021 election campaign.